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Local artist's tortoise design hopes to raise awareness of homelessness

Local artist's tortoise design hopes to raise awareness of homelessness

Thursday 04 May 2023

Local artist's tortoise design hopes to raise awareness of homelessness

Thursday 04 May 2023

Homeless charity Sanctuary Trust will feature on Durrell’s Tortoise Trail this summer with a design created by a local artist to help to put Jersey’s hidden homeless issue on the map – literally.

Thanks to the generosity of a local couple, the homelessness charity will be able to use the symbolism of the tortoise with its home on its back to raise awareness of the men supported by Sanctuary Trust –which is Bailiwick Express and Connect Magazine's partner charity this year.

Donors Richard and Debbie Prosser have sponsored a tortoise for Durrell's Tortoise Trail as a way of supporting and raising awareness for both charities. Richard is Durrell’s Chef de Gardien and Debbie has been a Sanctuary Trustee since 2021.

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Debbie explained: “When we heard about Tortoise Takeover, I immediately thought of the obvious symbolism of the tortoise with its home on its back and the men we support at Sanctuary Trust, who often come to us with their belongings in nothing more than a bag.

"As supporters of both Durrell and Sanctuary Trust, my husband and I felt this was a perfect opportunity to raise awareness about both charities’ respective environmental and social plights.”

Sarah Tumelty, Sanctuary Trust’s General Manager, added: “This is such a thoughtful and generous gesture, which will help put Jersey’s hidden homeless issue and the work we do at Sanctuary Trust quite literally on the island map.

"It’s also going to be a great source of excitement and engagement for our residents who can really feel a sense of pride and ownership for our tortoise. We are hugely grateful to the Prossers and to Durrell for including us in their incredible trail.”


Pictured: Richard and Debbie Prosser have sponsored the tortoise as a way to support both Sanctuary Trust and Durrell.

Local artist, Lisa MacDonald created the design for the tortoise.

Although the final designs are kept secret until the trail begins on 1 July, Lisa shared her inspiration: “My piece is called 'In a beautiful world, everyone has a home' and I specifically designed it with homelessness in mind.

"So, I was so delighted when Debbie and the team at Sanctuary Trust chose my tortoise. It is the perfect fit and totally in-keeping with my design concept. Being able to raise awareness through my art really resonates with me and it is wonderful to be able to do this for two charities.”

Lisa's tortoise will be on display in the wild in Jersey from 1 July - 31 August 2023.

After the trail has ended, all the tortoises will be united together for a last farewell weekend in September before the larger sculptures go up for auction on the 21 September to raise money for a new tropical house to home a variety of endangered reptiles and amphibians at the Jersey Zoo.

Express is proud to be the media partner for this year's Tortoise Takeover. Sign up to our daily news email for all the latest updates.


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